Saturday, December 7, 2013

For Day 5 of the 12 Days of EdCamp I went back and looked at some of my blog posts from the events I've attended. Reading these thoughts from the past year has been a pretty powerful experience for me tonight.

I've been reflecting a lot lately on my last couple years in education and it seemed to me that my thinking and knowledge over the past few months is completely different because of the opportunities and exposure I've had to blended and personalized learning. As I read these posts I am struck by how aligned my thinking is from then to today. I definitely have grown and learned a ridiculous amount since last spring, but these posts (and recently revisiting my original philosophy statement and portfolios) have shown me that my overall philosophy in education has always had a similar tone and focal point. I'm thankful I got a nudge to go searching for these posts and reflect on my journey since last year. Yay #EdCampGift !

October, 2012

I went to my first edcamp today and it was very inspiring.  For those who don’t know it is an un-conference for educators, meaning every session is built when participants arrive that day.  According to their website, edcamp’s vision is: “Promoting organic, participant-driven professional development for K-12 educators worldwide.”

Essentially, all the sessions are built when participants arrive for the day. There is a blank schedule board and people sign up to lead a discussion or post things they’d like to talk about.  This means that the learning is all relevant to the people who are there, and addresses whatever might be on their mind at the time - a huge contrast to typical PD in many ways.
Another big component of the day is networking with like-minded teachers and having the chance to build your PLC. I was able to meet several amazing people who work in my district with tech, blended learning, PD, and Common Core Implementation.  I’ve emailed a couple of them or seen their work but since they work at the district level I would never encounter them as a classroom teacher otherwise.  They are all highly revered in their circles and travel all over the country / world to share their ideas in addition to working at our district, so connecting with them was quite exciting.
Some of the best sessions posed more questions than answers, but in a way that was exciting and fulfilling.  I find that a lot of PD feels like drudgery, doesn’t address the immediate concerns of the participants, and can easily get pulled into a black hole of negativity if the teachers attending are not willing/able to see how it could help them. I appreciate the immediate takeaways as much as the next teacher, but sometimes it is more fulfilling to ponder the big questions in education because it feeds my soul and reminds me why I love education.

(I’d love to use this format for a PD at my school or even hold our own school un-conference on a Saturday so we could have some dedicated time to share what we are doing, thinking about, and trying to solve in our classrooms.  As a K-12 we have so many different voices and could really learn a lot from each other.  Every other Thurs we have choice PD where teachers are asked or volunteer to lead 30 min sessions, so I think it would be easy to get buy-in since it is a mentality we already embrace.)  

Edcamp is held all over the world so I highly recommend checking out their website and trying to attend.  I walked away with so many great tools, apps, ideas, and things I am pondering.  I will be putting together some posts and getting them in the queue, which will be a first for me this school year.  Blogging during the week..wha?

Check out the edcamp website, and the wiki of upcoming events:
http://edcampfoundation.org
http://edcamp.wikispaces.com/complete+edcamp+calendar 

April 2013 (Part I)

Started up and early for EdCamp and, as usual, left feeling inspired and excited to be an educator. I love this event because you sit in a room with amazing minds and talk about education in both a practical and theoretical context. I also appreciated feeling like my thoughts, ideas, and experiences are valued instead of them being seen as a downfall or hindrance to others. It’s nice to be with people who “get” you, even if many of them are strangers or people you encounter a couple times a year.

Some great conversations at EdCampCO about blended vs flipped, Google scripts, and tons of other amazing apps for education. Excited to post a list to share at the end of the day.
Now time to talk Design Thinking!

April 2013 (Part II)

Started up and early for EdCamp and, as usual, left feeling inspired and excited to be an educator. I love this event because you sit in a room with amazing minds and talk about education in both a practical and theoretical context. I also appreciated feeling like my thoughts, ideas, and experiences are valued instead of them being seen as a downfall or hindrance to others. It’s nice to be with people who “get” you, even if many of them are strangers or people you encounter a couple times a year.